Fault vs. No Fault Divorces in Utah

Fault vs. No Fault Divorces in Utah

Anyone who is the least bit familiar with divorce law will recognize the terms “fault” and “no-fault.” These designations affect how each party will fare during the distribution of property. The terms also reflect a party’s burden of proof in each scenario. In the state of Utah a divorce can be sought on a fault or no-fault basis. Here, we’ll look at the differences between the two.

A Fault Based Divorce

As mentioned, a divorce involving fault could have an effect on property distribution. Typically, a spouse that is at fault will get a lesser share of marital property. Impotence, adultery, abandonment, cruel treatment and insanity are all grounds for at-fault divorces . Yet, cases involving insanity requires more proof as stated in Title 30, Chapter 3, Section 1.

Section 8(b) of Title 30, Chapter 3, Section 5 authorizes the court to use fault in the determination of alimony. Furthermore, when pursuing a fault-based divorce there is no separate living requirement. Instead, filing a petition is proper when the offending act occurs.

The filing spouse has to prove fault in this type of divorce. However, the opposing spouse is free to assert defenses against the accusations. Some commonly used defenses include: provocation, recrimination and connivance. Each of these defenses works to lessen the impact of the at-fault party’s act. The defenses allege that there were also inappropriate actions by the filing spouse. An family law attorney can assist you in determining which defenses are appropriate.

No Fault Divorces

The most common way to get a divorce is through the “no-fault” method. The state of Utah offers two different paths to a no-fault divorce. In either type of divorce the moving party does not have to prove fault of the opposing party. Instead, the moving party only needs to show that the marriage is no longer viable. The party can allege that there is a general incompatibility between the two parties. Many refer to this type of divorce as one based on “irreconcilable differences.”  

The second way to get a no-fault divorce is to live apart from one another in separate households. This living situation must occur for at least three years prior to the divorce. The two parties must also be legally separated during this time. For more information on this type of divorce contact an experienced divorce attorney.

If you need immediate assistance in a family law matter contact the experienced lawyer Rex B Bushman. He will walk you through the requirements and process of a Utah divorce. Find out if a fault or no-fault divorce is the option for you by calling (801) 652-9413.